State of the Offspring Address – February 2015

February 27, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian BarflyThe shortest month of the year has come to a close. I spent the first dozen days of it the the States playing golf, and then we had the biggest event in February for the kids, Carnaval. The weather has been particularly terrible this month, so we’ve done almost no outdoor activities. The other day I noticed it was starting to rain, and pointed this out to Nora, and she said, “Ugh! It’s ALWAYS raining!” That’s how we all feel.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – January 2015

January 30, 2015 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Kitty NoraEarly January saw the passing of “Second Christmas”, Kings Day, in which Nora wrote a letter to the three wisemen welcoming them into our home and offering some snacks that were laid out for them. Nora got a toy microphone, some clothes, some other toys, and several pairs of earmuffs, which no one wears (and therefore are nearly impossible to buy), but apparently they were talking about them in school. Ian got the big present: a pedal-less bicycle. Unfortunately he’s not quite big enough to use it even at the lowest setting, and Nora is just too big to use it at the highest setting (more on that below). Nora got up first, of course, and then she got so frustrated that she couldn’t “help” Ian open his presents that she actually started crying at the injustice of it all. When we got Ian up, he really didn’t seem to have any understanding of what was going on, barely paying attention to Nora ripping open his presents.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – December 2014

December 29, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Santa NoraYet another calendar year is coming to a close. The offspring are doing well. They have been at their grandparents’ house for the past week, enjoying the Christmas festivities. Nora has totally bought into the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus and the Magi Kings. It sounds like they talk about that a lot at school. She has not even a sliver of doubt that the myths might not be 100% true. Occasionally she will ask how Santa Claus can do X or Y, but we feign ignorance or defer to “magic”, and that is more than enough explanation.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – November 2014

November 30, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Cute BoyThis month the children have made huge strides towards being mature children rather than babies. Nora has always been very sensitive about sleeping alone. She likes to have someone in the room with her both when she goes to sleep, but also if she wakes up during the night. While Marga was pregnant with Ian, I spent most nights in Nora’s room, so if/when Nora woke up during the night, the pregnant lady was not disturbed. After Ian was born, we switched, and I was with the needier newborn. Ian has been doing a lot better about sleeping through the entire night without needing a bottle, and Nora has been getting braver and better, in general, about sleeping. So early this month, Nora requested that she and Ian sleep alone together in the same room. I was skeptical that such a plan would work, but it did!! [launch the streamers and balloons and confetti] It’s SO much nicer to be a hallway away from a sleeping toddler than in the same room, because he’s got to really want something to wake you up, rather than just his 5 second “Where’s my pacifier? Oh, there attached to my chest!” crises. It’s working out splendidly.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – October 2014

October 31, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

'Twas a foggy Saturday morning at the Munich AirportWe spent the first two weeks of October in the US visiting with my family. Several uncles and aunts and cousins, that I only see every five years or so, were also there to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. After the kids spent nearly the entire summer in southern Spain with their grandparents, I was beginning to worry about how little English was spoken. Pretty much all of Ian’s words were in Spanish, and Nora had to be reminded at the dinner table to speak English. Like most of my parental worries, this one was also unfounded. After an American fortnight, Nora is now principally playing with Ian in English, and Ian knows several English words, like “cookie” and “down”, and follows English instructions where before he only followed Spanish ones. He just turned 18-months old.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – September 2014

September 30, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian Sits on BollardThe biggest news this month was the return of the offspring from their long summer vacation and the start of the school year. They came back less than a week before school started on September 11th. To ease the pain of summer vacation ending, the kids have only gone in the mornings so far in September, but in October they will start in the afternoons again, too. Nora was happy to go back to school. She’s a preschool senior now, in what other cultures call kindergarten, even though she’s with the same teacher she’s had for the past two years.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – August 2014

August 27, 2014 By: erik Category: Extremadura, News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian and NoraThe offspring have spent the entirety of August on vacation with their Spanish grandparents in Extremadura, an inland region in the south of Spain. For the first half of the month, my wife and I spent a fortnight with them. It was fun to see them in this different environment. At fifteen months old, Ian is progressing very rapidly. He’s very steady on his feet and is getting a lot faster. He’s even sprouting a vocabulary that is almost in the double digits. When Nora was Ian’s age we were worried – hilariously, in retrospect – about her language development. He’s also learned to kiss, which he does by planting a big open mouth on your cheek like he’s about to bite you.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – July 2014

July 31, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian and Nora and AbueloThis has been the month with the least contact with my children since I began this State of the Offspring Address series. Since I injured myself one week into the month, they have been away at their Spanish grandparents’ house ever since, one week in the Basque Country, followed a two day visit with us, and then the rest of the month in Extremadura. Judging from my calls with Nora, she and Ian are having a ball. Ian is, of course, happy with his first and third favorite humans, his sister and his Spanish grandfather (I’m fourth), who is still riding high in the standings from his willingness to bend over and walk with Ian wherever he wanted before he gained his ambulatory independence. As a result, I don’t have much to report.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – June 2014

June 30, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian and Nora at the beachSummer has finally arrived. Nora’s school year has ended and we’ve been enjoying picnics in the park and visits to the beach this month. Ian looks like a baby goat who has two little nubs of horns protruding from his forehead. He’s been sporting forehead bruises pretty much all month long as a result of his many faceplants. He is, however, walking a little better and more confidently every single day. The stability improvement has been massive.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – May 2014

May 29, 2014 By: erik Category: Beach, News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Show me that kite, sister!Huge news this month! Ian has been officially declared Independently Ambulatory! He’s been dragging anyone willing to bend over and hold just one of his hands around, and stumbling a meter or two between adults, for weeks now, but it was on May 25, 2014, his 13-month birthday, when he really decided to make his way out on his own. He’s learned the important lesson that when you start to lose balance, you should stick out your butt and fall on that rather than your hands or head. He has, however, occasionally fallen on his head. Notice the bruise in the video below. The funny thing is that he’s not yet figured out, although he gets close, how to stand up from a sitting position with nothing to hold on to. He needs something stationary – even a wall is enough – to lean on to get up, but once he’s up, look out!
(more…)